Sevilla thrashed Athletic Bilbao 4-0 on Sunday to bolster their hopes of Champions League football next season as they tucked in behind Villarreal in second spot in the Spanish league.
The home side never allowed tiredness from their midweek UEFA Cup efforts affect them as they went ahead after 26 minutes through Frederic Kanoute and then, five minutes before the interval, Renato Santos doubled their advantage.
The best goal of the game came after 75 minutes in a well-worked counter-attack with Adriano Correia providing the finishing touch. Substitute Ernesto Chevanton wrapped up the game with ten minutes to go.
It has been successful week for Sevilla, who beat Austrian club Salzburg 2-0 in midweek, for a 4-0 aggregate victory, to qualify for the UEFA Cup group stages.
Villarreal, who beat Real Betis 2-1 on Saturday, top the table with 16 points, two ahead of Sevilla and three in front of both Barcelona, who crushed Atletico Madrid 6-1 on Saturday, and Valencia. Real Madrid are four points off the pace in fifth.
Malaga made easy work of struggling Recreativo Huelva as they too scored four against their Andalusian neighbours.
Eliseu Pereira dos Santos scored the first of his brace in the opening minute and then goals either side of the interval from Nabil Baha and Duda Valente firmly placed Malaga in the driving seat.
They finished off the scoring just after the hour mark with Eliseu's second.
Racing Santander left it late, scoring in the 92nd minute away to Osasuna to claim an important victory after a poor start to the season.
Osasuna's Jaroslav Plasil will consider himself unlucky to have been dismissed in the first half for handball inside the area but Ezequiel Garay failed from the penalty spot.
Juan Varela though made no mistake controlling the ball well before firing past the keeper.
Almeria came from two goals down to claim a point away to Getafe.
Ikechukwu Uche and Francisco Casquero appeared to have secured the win before Almeria hit back in the final minutes through Alvaro Negredo and Jose Chico.
An early goal from Angel Lafita after 13 minutes was enough for Deportivo la Coruna to beat Numancia and end their run of a month without a win.
Valencia have the chance to leapfrog Villarreal and return to the top of the table when they take on Valladolid.
The club which had so many problems last season under Ronald Koeman with player revolts and fan protests appear now to have turned the corner under Unai Emery with four victories in five games.
Valladolid will know that if they are to maintain their own impressive home record they must combat the threat from in-form strike pair David Villa and Juan Mata.
In the late game, Real Madrid aim to achieve their seventh win on the trot before the break for internationals with the visit of Espanyol.
Bernd Schuster is set to continue his policy of rotation by bringing back Raul Gonzalez at the expense of Arjen Robben while Wesley Sneijder is expected to return after he was injured in a pre-season friendly against Arsenal.
Source: AFP Global Edition